Can You Do Keto and Intermittent Fasting Together?
There’s a lot to get used to and keep track of when adopting a ketogenic diet. However, once you have the basics down like your new grocery list and meal planning, there’s something else to keep in mind. Success on a keto diet isn’t just about what you eat though that is essential. It’s also about when and how often you eat. Intermittent fasting sometimes called ‘IF’ is a trending topic in some diet and wellness communities and relevant to those of us on keto.
Keto and Intermittent Fasting Success Tip #1: Understand Your Macros
When done properly intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool to break through a weight loss plateau or ramp up your fat burning. Before you consider intermittent fasting if you’re doing keto, it’s important to know what your macros are and how to track them.
Your macros simply refer to your macro-nutrients. These are the basic food components you need to consume to stay alive. They include
You also need to remember that you certainly don’t have to fast on a ketogenic diet. Some people find it helpful and doable and others do not. There’s no reason to restrict yourself with intermittent fasting if it makes you unhappy. That will just cause stress and strain around your entire diet and may lead to lapses in your dietary discipline.
Keto and Intermittent Fasting Success Tip #1: Understand Feeding and Fasting
That said if you want to learn more about keto and intermittent fasting success in the short and long term, here are some of the key principles. There are two basic terms you need to first familiarize yourself with: feeding and fasting.
Your body is in a feeding state when you’re eating and in a fasting state between meals. There are a few methods of fasting. One is skipping meals to prolong the time of fasting. The most common meals that people choose to go without are breakfast and lunch. Another method is referred to as eating windows this approach requires condensing your entire macronutrient intake in between a four and seven hour window.
During the rest of the day and night you’re in a fasting state. The third and most extreme is a 24 to 48 hour cleanse. This long of a period is really more of an extended fast than an intermittent fast and we don’t recommend that people new to fasting start here. We found that the best intermittent fasting introduction is restricting yourself to certain eating windows . One common way people restrict themselves is by eating only during the hours of 5:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Remember the time you spend sleeping counts as fasting so if you finish your dinner at 6:00 p.m. and don’t eat until noon the following day you’ve achieved an 18-6 window. If you hear people using numbers to describe their fasting habits the first number is the number of fasting hours and the second number is the number of eating hours. For instance, if someone says they’re eating window is 19-5, that means they have 19 hours of fasting and 5 hours of eating.
You also don’t have to practice intermittent fasting every day. You can try it once a week or a few times a week to see how it feels to adjust your schedule. Listen to your body and if it’s working for you keep it up or try adding another day or two. Now why does intermittent fasting work? The key thing to consider is that our bodies can only take in a certain amount of food at one time. So creating stricter guidelines around when we eat creates a built-in limit on our calorie intake. People who struggle with overeating or mindless snacking often find this very helpful.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Whilst On Keto
During fasting periods, our bodies begin to break down stored fat for energy. When we’re in ketosis our body already mimics a fasting state, because of the absence of glucose in our bloodstream. Whenever you’re fasting don’t forget that you’ll likely need to eat some extra fat once you break the fast in order to hit your daily macros.
Beyond weight loss, there are other proven benefits of fasting. Yoshinori Ohsumi who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016 discovered that fasting can trigger autophagy, a process where non-essential parts like damaged proteins are recycled in invading microorganisms and toxic compounds are removed. It’s basically like your cells are getting a nice deep cleaning.
Autophagy is an important factor in stopping the aging process, reversing disease and preventing cancer. When we eat three or more meals a day and fulfill our calorie needs, even with the healthiest of foods our cells can still get backed up with non-essential proteins and toxic compounds to give cells a chance to clean themselves without other functions distracting them.
We must give our bodies a break from feeding through fasting. This fasting process will not only activate autophagy in your cells, it will also increase your ketones much faster than if you were just eating a standard ketogenic diet. This is one of the proven ways of ensuring keto and intermittent fasting success. If you combine intermittent fasting with activities like walking, cycling or lifting weights, you can raise your ketone levels and increase autophagy more than you would with intermittent fasting alone.
Many people who practice intermittent fasting also experience heightened mental clarity, because fat is considered one of the most energy efficient fuels for your body to run on and your brain consumes a lot of energy. Once your body is keto adapted your brain can effectively run on ketones which are derived from fat breakdown in the liver. ‘IF’ only amplifies this effect if you maintain a daily or frequent fitness regimen.
You might be concerned about how fasting will affect the way you feel pre- and post-workout. Not to worry. Many studies have proven that intermittent fasting while training can result in higher metabolic adaptations, improve muscle synthesis and improve response to post-workout meals.
Keto and Intermittent Fasting Success Tips #3: A 3-Day Sample to Follow
Here’s what a sample 3-day keto and intermittent fasting success boost routine might look like. On Thursday evening, you eat a ketogenic dinner as usual and those are the last calories you consume that day. On Friday morning, within 30 minutes of waking up, head out for a long walk. You can drink a moderate amount of coffee or tea, not too much as it can cause mineral excretion which you need to be aware of during fasting. On the walk you bring along a liter of water with a little bit of added unrefined salt.
That morning you walk for three to four hours. This is a long time so plan some phone calls, queue up, some podcasts or find something else to keep you productive during that time. This long walk will use up your glycogen stores and force your body more quickly into deep ketosis. The quicker you get into ketosis the less time you spend feeling drained.
If you can’t set aside this much time, one alternative is doing 45 to 60 minutes of high-intensity interval training exercises. After the walk consume a bit of MCT oil, two or three times throughout the rest of the day. On Saturday when you wake up test your blood ketones with a ketone blood testing kit. They should be at 0.7 millimoles or greater.
If you’re at 0.7 millimoles, proceed with your fast and if not consider going for another extended walk, then re-test. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day on Saturday, adding in a bit of unrefined table salt to each 1 litre bottle. On Sunday evening break the fast with your favorite keto meal.
That’s just one way to incorporate a three day fast into your schedule. Even if you can’t make it for the full three days, smaller periods of intermittent fasting can still yield big results.
The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have a lot more in common that most people realize. When combined effectively they can produce some great results in improving metabolism and strength. So can you do intermittent fasting whilst on keto? I believe the answer is yes. However, let us know if you have experienced keto and intermittent fasting success and if there’s some tips you would like to share with our online readership.